The Walker Recall – are you ready…are we ready…?

As of today, only eleven weeks until Scott Walker is eligible for recall. After a successful (by most objective observations) season of Senatorial recalls, declining popularity of Scott Walker, and people feeling the impact of the Collective Bargaining changes and Walker’s budget – passions are running high for the Governor’s recall. All one needs to do is search Facebook and Twitter to find this passion, and all the various timings and scenarios involved in beginning and executing the recall. Upon examination, all are with merit. An immediate recall embraces the passion of the moment, as well as getting Walker out of office ASAP – minimizing any further damage to Wisconsin working families and middle class. Those who hesitate with an immediate recall express concern over the timing, not only with the election itself, but the challenge of collecting petitions from November through December. Think football, school, homecomings, holidays, etc. Look at your calendar and be honest – how many of you could commit to six or seven days a week of volunteering during those months? Remember the numbers. Assume the need for 650,000 signatures – to be safe in the face of strenuous challenges. That requires the gathering of 10,833 signatures per day. Working 7 days a week, 12 hours a day (one must sleep and eat) requires 903 an hour, which brings us to 15 signatures a minute to achieve the goal of recalling Scott Walker. There is even a school of thought that sees the potential to re-take the Assembly and/or Senate in 2012, and that Walker could be a lame duck Governor, making him easy pickings in 2014. ALL these scenarios have merit. In the next few weeks, a consensus must be arrived at, along with floating the names of potential candidates – the right person would add a great deal of momentum to the movement. 

On June 22, Badger Democracy called for a summit of the groups with vested interest in the Recall of Scott Walker. While that may have seemed premature, consider that the Senatorial recalls are now over, and November is close at hand. As of today, that summit has not happened. A consensus must be reached, unity prevail, and we must come together in this effort, addressing four critical points at the basis of this effort.

Communication – Not only between the grassroots groups, PACS, Unions, etc. – but with our fellow citizens. The organizational blueprint must exist for communicating and owning the message. We cannot play defense, speaking to Scott Walker’s rhetoric and propaganda – we must be on offense with our simple, resonating messages, so he is on defense from the start. That time is now, before the Club for Growth, American Federation for Children, Americans for Prosperity money comes in by the truckload. This message must be spread not only through social media, but face-to-face in as many municipalities as we can find volunteers to spread the word. Grassroots “boots on the ground” will make the difference in this race – people will listen to their neighbor eye-to-eye more than any television ad. Effective, coordinated communication statewide.

Education – Follow-up to communication. Once the chain is established, simple and poignant messages telling the truth about the budget’s effects on the issues people care about– Collective Bargaining, Education, Healthcare, and Elderly/Child/Disabled Care – all issues Progressives win on. Use the communication structure to educate and deliver a simple, powerful message of how Scott Walker has failed to serve Wisconsin, and succeeded in representing Corporate takeover of Wisconsin.

Get Out The Vote – Follow-up to Education. The new Voter ID (read “suppression”) requires a key strategy to assure every eligible voter is indeed eligible and educated come election day. It would be a mistake to trust this to the GAB. An important task for any grassroots organization at this “summit” would be to take on an aggressive voter education/assurance program. The GOP has done everything it can to disenfranchise – Democrats must make it known that they are the party to “re-enfranchise” voters.

Money – A very unpopular topic in elections. Let’s be honest with ourselves – recalling Scott Walker cannot happen without major fundraising efforts – if nothing else, to support concepts 1-3 above. Wisconsin law allows for “conduit funds” which can be specified for a single candidate. Should that candidate emerge, there would be potential to establish this fund to channel monies in support from around the state, legally, transparently, and ethically. As much as we would like to think we can do this without an enormous expenditure – consider the money spent on just the 9 Senatorial recalls – how much is Scott Walker worth to Koch, WMC, SC Johnson, Kraft, AFC, CFG, etc.?

The reality from the summer recalls is clear – Scott Walker is vulnerable to recall, and the winds of change are blowing in Wisconsin. Fueled by a tremendous surge in progressive populism and grassroots efforts, WE can take back Wisconsin and send the world a message from the Badger State “with love for Democracy.” Come together, organize around the key issues, recall Scott Walker and move FORWARD.

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Prosser Arrogance in Plain Sight on Refusal to Recuse

The Wisconsin Supreme Court will soon be hearing a case involving the Government Accountability Board and its authority to oversee campaign funds coming from, you guessed it, Corporate interests and PACs. Arguing for corporate interests wanting to continue the practice of non-reporting of soft money is Attorney James Troupis. The same attorney who represented the GOP in its highly partisan redistricting process; as well as the attorney representing Associate Justice David Prosser in the recent recount process. This is the same James Troupis who goes back to the Prosser/Scott Jensen days in the State Assembly. Also the same James Troupis who was thanked personally, and by name, by David Prosser in his “victory reception” held in Legislative Chambers after Joanne Kloppenburg conceded. In fact, Prosser used the words “owes a great debt of gratitude” when naming both Troupis and Jensen. Yet David Prosser would have us believe he is able to hear this case impartially. Even the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel recognizes the clear conflict for Prosser.

When the State Supreme Court heard a case which involved Prosser’s former staffer Scott Jensen, Prosser recused himself in a case which opened the door for Jensen’s trial to be moved to Waukesha County. Jensen was able to avoid serving jail time and receive a plea bargain from a politically sympathetic Waukesha County Court system. As was the case then, Prosser has direct personal, political, and financial ties to Troupis. If not through Troupis’ representation on behalf of Prosser in the recount; through political financial contributions and the parties who will benefit from Troupis’ success in this case. Both Troupis and Prosser share the same deep-pocketed political allies.

The inability of Prosser to recognize, or worse yet acknowledge this conflict makes him a dangerous presence on the bench. He is obviously willing and capable of putting personal and political motive above that of the Constitutional interpretation of the law. Prosser’s arrogance in this matter is a clear violation of conflict of interest, and he should be held accountable by the State Judicial Oversight Commission, and more importantly, his peers on the bench and voters.